AUGUSTA – Yesterday, President Joe Biden proposed new rules that would strengthen the Buy American Act, increasing the amount of American-manufactured goods purchased by the federal government and closing existing loopholes in the federal policy. This announcement came two weeks after the Buy American, Build Maine Act from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, was vetoed in Maine. In 2013, an earlier version of this policy was also vetoed by the previous governor.
President Jackson released the following statement lauding the proposed federal rules:
“For years, I have fought to pass Buy American policies in Maine, only to have the proposals vetoed by both Democratic and Republican governors. My reason is simple – I believe that the government should be investing taxpayer dollars in workers, businesses and products made in our own backyard whenever possible. It’s clear that President Biden feels the same way. Despite claims from Gov. Mills, and Gov. LePage before her, that this would be too expensive, President Biden disagrees. He understands that these investments in our workers pays dividends in communities and states. With the new rules, it’s clear that President Biden recognizes that investing in American manufacturing is vital to the health and well-being of Americans, the strength and flexibility of our economy, and national security – and he has a plan to do something about it.
“Make no mistake – the Buy American Act isn’t about discriminating against products from other countries, rather it’s about lifting up the workers and businesses that manufacture quality goods all across this country. It’s about putting our taxpayer dollars to work creating safe, good-paying jobs and supporting local economies. More importantly, it’s about strengthening our supply chain to ensure the US can effectively respond to a crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it painfully clear what happens when we fail to invest in American manufacturing.
“While I’m deeply disappointed that lawmakers failed to override the governor’s veto of the Buy American, Build Maine Act, I’m grateful to the leadership of President Biden and his administration. His proposal goes much further than what we had proposed at the state level, and it sends a clear message to states: implementing Buy American policies are not only possible but encouraged by the federal government.”
Buy American policies have been in place at the federal level dating back to 1933. In January, President Biden signed an Executive Order in strengthening “Buy American” policies across the federal government. In June, the Biden Administration unveiled the “American Jobs Plan” which makes it clear that the federal government is heading in a new direction — one that recognizes the quality and value of American workers and goods.